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the legend of zelda: breath of the wild

Breath of the Wild is, of course, a stunning game. And a surprising one, both in how it departs from Zelda tradition and in how I reacted to those departures. No more progressive unlocking of weapons/tools/areas, no more restricting those areas to your specific skill set / power level (at least after the first two […]

mass effect: andromeda

Mass Effect: Andromeda starts off by dropping you into the middle of the action. You’re part of a large-scale colonization mission in a new galaxy, things have gone wrong upon arrival, you’re part of a team sent out to investigate, and your ship has crashed. This sort of opening is one of the series’ strengths: […]

alien: isolation

For years now, I’ve been frustrated by games’ fixation on an anointed hero saving the world through mass slaughter; I’ve been talking about that most frequently recently in the context of Dragon Age: Inquisition, but of course anointed murderers are all over the place, the only reason why I bring the issue up in the […]

returning to okami

What a game Okami is. I loved it when I first played it, though in recent years, I’d started to wonder: maybe that game went on a little long, maybe I was thinking about it through rose-colored memories? As it turns out: yeah, sure, the game does go on a little long, but wow what […]

dragon age inquisition: the descent

(I don’t normally worry about spoiler warnings, but, given how recently this DLC came out, I’ll give one here.) I thought that the first piece of DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Jaws of Hakkon, was meh; but still, not every piece of DLC is going to advance the series. And, going through the first half […]

returning to ico

I really enjoyed Dragon Age: Inquisition, but it was a bit of a mess. That mess was, however, not specific to that game: it’s entirely typical for a AAA game to throw in a kitchen sink of gameplay mechanisms. Some AAA games manage to escape that pitfall: Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are particularly […]

dragon age inqusition: stepping back

Preamble So: after that grab bag of impressions of Dragon Age: Inquisition, what do I think about the game as a whole? One question is: what do I wish the game was? Given the importance of relationships and romances in the game, “a dating sim” is a not outlandish answer. I don’t think it’s my […]

dragon age inquisition: miscellaneous thoughts

Dragon Age: Inquisition. It’s glorious, but it’s also a bit of a mess, in a AAA-ey way. Which means that I have no idea how to talk about the game in a coherent manner! So, in absence of that, a randomly ordered list of topics: The Scale of Its Story In Dragon Age II, you […]

tomb raider

I’d never played a Tomb Raider game before the 2013 iteration of the series; that playthrough was also the first time I’d played a newish AAA game in something like two years, so I’d gotten a bit unused to that sort of polished spectacle. And, I will say: it was a very well-done polished spectacle, […]

morality play

Single-player narrative games frequently put you on the side of somebody actively fighting for justice: I’m in the middle of Dragon Age: Inquisition right now, for example, and that game has the all-too-familiar RPG plot of a chosen one saving the world. This means means that, of Jane Jacobs’ two moral syndromes from Systems of […]